Christmas in Riyadh

Christmas Evening in Riyadh –  Gees I could’ve done my hair.

I was hoping to regale you all with tales of Christmas in Riyadh.  What we did, who we saw, where we went.  All that.  Instead, I was sick with a flu, or something, which has been going around.  Grrreat!

What are the symptoms, because as I write I am still undergoing some of them?  Chills, shakes, body aches, major headache, zombie head, loss of appetite.  I know I told the universe I don’t want to get carried away on food this Christmas, and if this is the universe manifesting my desire  I guess I should be happy – but really! 

Being sick was certainly not what I had planned for my first ever Christmas Eve in Riyadh.

This is what I had planned:  A lunch time get together on another compound with some expat-bloggers living in Saudi who I’ve met online.  That soiree was to be followed by an evening dinner at our compound coffee shop with fellow compound dwellers who were, for whatever reason, also spending Christmas in the magic kingdom.

And it is magic.

Though rumours abound of negative Big H messages being sent forth to the masses via loud speaker (as I don’t understand the Arabic I cannot confirm this rumour.  Lots of little birdies twitter out there about it, but none I know personally and I’m not going to believe just anyone) the Saudi people I know send me texts wishing me a happy Christmas and a wonderful day.  They do that of their own free will and, though I’m guessing at their reasons, I would say their rational goes something like this: we are friends, they are wonderful people.  Now isn’t that magic.

Whats the big H Kiwi?  When the kids were little there were a couple of words that were banned from their vocabulary.  One was the Big H.  Hate is a word attached to very strong, intense feelings with horribly negative tones that spring from deep seated plain old nasty…not nice-ness.  Use of the word willy nilly, as far as we were concerned, was unacceptable.  Thesaurus allowed them other words they could use to express their discontent or antipathy of a situation or person should they need to – ‘ intensely dislike’ was a favourite phrase. 

Yep. That was the Christmas Eve plan.
I didn’t get to do any of it.
At least Glenn got to enjoy it all, which is a huge difference to how he has spent the last two Christmases in Riyadh.  Working.

I would have asked him, when he got home, how things went, but I was in ‘pass in, pass out’, mumble ‘tea please’, zombie brain mode. 

Glenn rang the children when he got home from his festive activities to wish them a great day and to have a word with the grand kids.  He left the loud speaker on so I could hear (11.30pm our Christmas Eve was early morning their Christmas Day).  Aren’t kids awesome at Christmas.  They were so excited.  Our granddaughter told us all about Santa eating the cookies and drinking all the milk she left out.  And the reindeer ate the carrot.  Our grandson told us about his new green undies, cos his old blue ones are too small.  Sooo cute.  As our daughter said, Christmas is much more fun with kids – until they know you buy the presents and aren’t the least bit appreciative.  Then it’s time they got a job.

I, unfortunately, was in no state to contribute to any conversation.  Never mind – I heard it. 

So, now it is Christmas Day in Riyadh and Glenn is currently at the function that was planned for our Christmas Day.

Oh he did work today.  Christmas Day is not a day off in Saudi although apparently a number of Saudi’s were perfectly happy to take a day off because they presumed that all westerners would be absent so their own attendance at work wasn’t required.  What the??

But after work he headed off to spend the evening with the tennis crew and friends enjoying a meal, a secret Santa and a few beverages (You know ginger tea, stuff like that. Yeah whateva Gae!) that, had I been there, would have taken us well into the night singing Christmas Carols. 

How did my Christmas day pan out?

Once the fever broke (last night) I’ve spent today with lessening, but not gone headache, return of appetite to nibble on apple slices, a bitch of a cough that does my head in and seriously hurts my chest, which is bunged up, and the pièce de résistance (I had to look that up to see how to spell it) – the runs. Grrrreaat.  How can I have the runs – I haven’t eaten anything!!!

I have recovered enough to type into my blog between dozes.  Since about 10am sleeping has been difficult because the rumblings of my bowel have me heading to the bathroom at frequent intervals – a real test on those butt muscles, which I have to say, are rather slack!  (Even coughing lets a few squitters escape – I’m on to my third pair of knickers for the day.)  Awweeesuume!

I have to say, one thing I did not miss in the lead up to Christmas in Riyadh was the commercialism.  ‘Buy this, they’ll love you’.
‘No, buy this – you’ll be the only one of almost every other family that has it’.
‘Jingle Bells your pay away because advertising says this is what Christmas is about’.
No, I don’t think I missed that at all.

I did miss a few carols.  Not the constant stream you get forced through your eardrums at shopping malls from the start of the day till the end.  That is overkill.  Nope.  Didn’t miss that.  But sitting round a piano with a few friends singing a few carols would have been nice.

Glenn enjoyed this Christmas because, even though I wasn’t in attendance at planned events (which he says just weren’t the same without me there – awww, what a sweetie), at least this year I was in the country.

Glenn has just texted.  He is on his way home.  No doubt he will have a chinwag about the evening.  I have some good news for him too.  I can pass wind now, without any extra accompaniments. Oh the small, yet wonderful things we rejoice in.

It’s boxing day.  I fell asleep soon after Glenn arrived home with pressies and left overs – I nibbled the roast potato, a bit of kumara and a little surprise I wasn’t expecting.  Very nice.
I may have missed wishing all a Merry Christmas, (and I certainly hope your day was festive, fun and family and friends filled), but I figure there’s plenty of time to recover so I can be ready for bringing in the New Year.

And I’m looking forward to my next Christmas, which may or may not, be in Riyadh.

Ka Kite,

1 Comment

  1. LeighD

    love yr blog,feel at home when i read it! i live in Auckland gulf harbour to be exact,{hibiscus coast}way.I ORIGINALLY COME FROM SOUTH AFRICA,but have been living in NZ FOR THREE AND HALF YEARS,now currently in Riyadh, been here a year now and still loving it,but i do miss NZ the green hills blue sea volcanic beaches and all my kiwi friends and family of course.i do miss walking my dog on the beach too.something we took so for granted back home.THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR ENTRY'S, I HAVE ENJOYED THEM ALL, U ARE A TRUE INSPIRATION TO ME ,AWAY FROM HOME.:)


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